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How to Become a Certified Anesthesia Technician

By Edited Oct 30, 2015 0 0

An entry level job with plenty of room to grow

Would you like a job guaranteed to grow in demand over the next ten years?  One with opportunity for personal growth and development, where your acquired skills are valued?  You may want to become a certified anesthesia technician.

Certified anesthesia technicians are skilled allied health professionals who assist anesthesiologists in the creating and implementing anesthesia care plans.  They set up equipment such as monitors,  ventilators and suction equipment in the operating room and emergency room.  They assist the anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists throughout surgery.  They also maintain, clean, troubleshoot,  and calibrate anesthesia equipment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job openings for positions in this area of hospital work (surgical technology) are expected to grow 25% in the next decade, much faster than openings across all fields of work.  Certified anesthesia technicians have upward mobility, too, becoming anesthesia technologists, for example, or nurse anesthetists, given enough time, experience, and education.
Certified anesthesia techs work mainly at large hospitals and university medical centers, especially where there are trauma or transplant centers; but they sometimes work in outpatient settings.
According to SimplyHired.com, the median salary for anesthesia technicians in the United States is $34,274.

If you want to work  directly with doctors, nurses, and patients in operating rooms and other “hands-on” environments, this may be the career for you.  Here are the steps to get started:

Decide if this is the right career for you.  Explore this career field further by visiting the Mayo Clinic website on surgical technology careers. 

Get trained.  Many anesthesia techs learn on the job.  Inquire with your local medical centers about on-the-job training opportunities.  There are a small number of approved programs (see below)  for anesthesia technicians and technologists but a specialized degree is not strictly required.   A high school diploma or GED is a prerequisite for this job.

Get certified.  Visit the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT).  There are two entry paths to certification.  You may apply after working as an anesthesia technician for two years; or by graduating from a program approved by ASATT.   Check with ASATT for the most up-to-date approval list.

To become certified you must sit for an examination that covers the operating room environment and anesthesia-specific topics.  The test is offered at 170 locations nation-wide.  The cost is $250 for ASATT members, and $325 for non-members.

That's it, in a nutshell.  Interested?  What are you waiting for? 



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